Let there be light

Today’s Prompt: Most Migraineurs have issues with light sensitivity. What do you do to cope with it?

normal-light-bulbToday I made the near-fatal mistake of reading other blogs before writing my own. I read with amazement to discover the drastic lengths one of my friends has taken to cope with light sensitivity. I began to ask myself, “What more can I add to the discussion that she hasn’t already covered?” When she reads this, I imagine she will smile and shake her head in disbelief. Relax Ellen, I have already been sufficiently “schooled”. But just in case you are wondering, I highly recommend also reading Ellen Schnakenberg’s blog at Migraine.com.

So here is what I do to cope:

  • Sunglasses – I never leave home without them, especially now that Botox has paralyzed my “squinting” muscles. I don’t just use them while driving or outdoors. They are an essential wardrobe item for shopping at any warehouse or “big box” store. Those harsh fluorescent lights are just too much for my brain to handle. Sometimes I use sunglasses while traveling at night as a passenger to block out harsh headlights and lights from emergency vehicles.
  • Incandescent light bulbs – Yes, I have a great big carbon footprint. Tough. My health is more important. I am one of those crazy ladies who has a stockpile of light bulbs large enough to last for decades. There is not one fluorescent or CFL bulb in my home or office and I have no intention of ever having one.
  • LCD screen brightness settings – My computer screen, my smart phone, and the new LCD TV in my living room are all set to the lowest brightness possible. On bad days when even this level of brightness is painful and I must work, I wear sunglasses indoors.
  • Room darkening shades & curtains – So far they are only in my bedroom, but we have plans to cover the living room and dining room windows as well. I never realized how helpful these would be until they were hung. They can be pricey, but they are well worth the investment. Triptans are expensive and it doesn’t take too many to cover the price of room darkening drapes.
  • Eye mask – I have one that is terry cloth on one side and satin on the other so I can choose which I prefer. I also have a gel mask that I keep in the refrigerator for times when cold and light-blocking are helpful. This blocks out the light from the alarm clock and microwave in my bedroom. This is especially helpful during times when I prefer to be near my family members but cannot tolerate any light. I can carry on conversations and still be present without worsening my symptoms. It is helpful when traveling to block out lights from other cars or excess lighting in hotels.
  • Hats, caps, & hoodies – The ones that work for me are not very stylish on a 40-something woman, but when light bothers me that much, I stop caring how I look and opt for comfort.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation.
The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

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